Stats Can releases new study to mark world disability day

Laurie Tritschler / December 4th, 2019

The United Nations first observed the day on December 3, 1992.
(International Day of Persons with Disabilities /

Over 6 million Canadians are living with at least one disability, according to a study by Statistics Canada published on Monday’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

That figure translates to slightly more than 15 per cent of all Canadians.

While disability is typically thought of as a permanent condition, the study’s authors found that three out of five disabled Canadians surveyed in 2017 reported that their disabilities fluctuated over time.

The same data shows that disabled Canadians are much less likely to be employed than able-bodied Canadians. Only 59 per cent of Canadians with recurring disabilities were working in 2017. The figure dropped to 53 per cent among Canadians with permanent disabilities. Those with progressive disabilities were the least likely to hold jobs. Statistics Canada estimates their employment rate is a distant 40 per cent.

The United Nations has observed as the International Day of Persons with Disabilities since December 3, 1992. The following timeline highlights the significant moments in Canada’s disability rights movement along with prominent achievements by disabled British Columbians.